Set in a postapocalyptic world, Fallen Earth, developed by Icarus Studios, is a massively multiplayer shooter that takes place primarily in and around the Grand Canyon. The developer took the time at its E3 2009 booth to demonstrate a bit more of the game than we had previously seen. Given that much of what was demoed was shown before, please click here to read our previous coverage.
The demo opened with a character-creation tool reminiscent of most other MMORPGs. However, one important distinction is that you do not select a class from the outset; the developer wants that process to be more organic, reflecting the will of the players as they venture through the story. In fact, Icarus Studio's philosophy on gaming is reflected throughout the game, which should set it apart from its competitors. For instance, the company has tried to deemphasize the leveling system, which should allow players of almost any experience level to partake in any of the game's 5,600 missions.
After the presenter created his character, he ventured out into the world and pulled out an axe from some poor sod's head, acquiring his first weapon. This segment serves as a brief tutorial for new players and explains how many of the game's mechanics work. Here, the developer took the time to explain the unique real-time/RPG-hybrid combat engine. On the surface, the game is a shooter through and through. You aim your weapon, pull the trigger, and whatever part of the enemy is hit is where you'll deal the damage. However, once the attack connects is when the RPG system takes over in the background, using both your character's and the enemy's individual stats, such as offensive and defensive ratings, to determine the amount of damage actually dealt. Though the system seems reminiscent of the recent Fallout 3, the developer was quick to downplay the similarities, noting that Fallen Earth does not depend on a bullet-time, VATS-type system that interrupts the gameplay--and frankly, that wouldn't work well in a real-time online environment.
After the tutorial, the developer took us over to a graveyard, now home to a gang of mutant vampires. This is but one of the many environments that players will see as they explore the massive--almost 100-square-kilometer--world (which reportedly takes 12 hours to cross on foot), which will also be expanded even further after the game is released. We got an up-close look at the vampires and they're suitably creepy looking; we're eager to what other enemies might infest the darker corners of the canyon.
Fallen Earth also features a wide range of single-passenger vehicles, such as motorcycles, dune buggies, and muscle cars, that all behave differently, unlike many other MMORPGs that simply reskin the same core vehicle. As an example, the developer noted that horses can actually be shot dead from underneath you as you trek through the canyon. The developers also mentioned that they're looking to include larger, multipassenger vehicles as well, enabling parties to roam through the canyon in style.
We unfortunately weren't shown any of the game's missions proper, which support parties of up to eight players. The developer did note though that, due to the size of the game's world and the sheer amount of missions, instancing missions shouldn't happen nearly as often as in similar games. We'll have more on Fallen Earth as we approach its release on the PC later this year.